In order to take a closer look at the development of wind energy in Columbia, national and international experts from government and industry met recently in Bogotá for Colombia Wind Power 2019, to assess the most important challenges and opportunities in the sector.

This comes after the recent success of a renewable energy auction in the country, where 1.3 GW of renewable energy capacity was awarded through 15-year PPA deals, with wind energy accounting for a significant 1,077 MW of this capacity.

Key stakeholders seek to generate a dialogue around the most important issues that impact the development of wind power projects in the country, in light of the goal to reach 17 per cent renewable energy capacity by 2030.

The country is calling for new regulation to be put in place to pave the way for the energy transition in Colombia, to address issues that challenge the project development phase; such as environmental licencing, grid connection and integration, as well as local project financing.

Long-term industrial planning must continue to be addressed by the industry and policymakers to ensure that these projects can develop efficiently to deliver clean and competitive energy for all Colombians.

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According to Julián Zuluaga, head of office for Regulatory and Business Affairs at the Ministry of Mines and Energy Colombia: “The international context of necessary acceleration of renewable energy to reduce carbon emissions along with the maturity of wind power technology and its competitiveness in energy markets globally have been strong drivers to set up renewable energy targets in Colombia.

“These targets will be crucial to support the country’s energy policy frameworks to increase energy efficiency, diversify the security of energy supply and ensure universal access to electricity for all Colombians.

“The success of the tender is due to strong coordination among institutions and the significant participation of stakeholders throughout the entire process, we can apply this model now to the other regulatory issues that face the renewable energy sector,” concluded Zuluaga.

“Green growth in Colombia is becoming a priority for the country. In the country’s first renewable energy auction last month, the winning projects will generate more than $2.2bn in investment over the next three years. Wind power accounted for 83 per cent of the allocated capacity and is therefore an industry with enormous potential to attract even more local investments and jobs to build Colombia’s economy while moving towards a more secure and low-carbon energy system”, said Ramón Fiestas, chair of the Latin American Committee of the Global Wind Energy Council.

“As Colombia is considered one of the top twenty countries at the greatest risk for climate change impact, we must make sure that we continue on the momentum of the auction to power sustainable development in the country,” says Fiestas.

“…It is very important now that we continue to analyse the challenges that persist for the wind energy industry, which could potentially lead to roadblocks as we develop this emerging market. From environmental licensing to grid connection, we must create regulatory frameworks that continue to boost the renewables industry by working with government authorities, to build a comprehensive long-term plan in a post-auction market so that all winning projects can be efficiently integrated in the energy system”, said Germán Corredor, executive director of SER Colombia.

Colombia Wind Power 2019 featured all aspects of Colombia’s ‘Mision de Transformacion’. From policy, to financing, to technical prowess, the region is clearly on track to unlock the wind energy potential in Colombia.